10 Years Later: Andrews AFB Runway Repair

Maryland – During the late 1990’s, a significant dip developed in one of the runways at Andrews Air Force Base.

Andrews Air Force Base is home to the President’s plane, Air Force One, one of the most recognizable planes in the world. Performing repairs at Andrews can be a challenge however, as “ramp freezes” occur meaning all operations other than those pertaining to Air Force One are shut down due to security reasons. Every airport repair job needs to be completed quickly, but Andrews required even faster repair. Full-depth reconstruction was ruled out as too time consuming and expensive. The U.S. Air Force chose a repair system that could perform the job quickly and accurately; they chose URETEK.

URETEK performed several tasks in a short time frame. First, they employed the URETEK Method to bring the panels in the dipped are to profile. URETEK crews then re-constituted the soils in a 60′ by 88′ area around the pipe by applying the Deep Injection process (Patent #6,634,831). This solution is exclusively used by URETEK to densify and re-support weak strata at various depths below the pavement or concrete structure. In this application, the leaky pipe joints were sealed before routing and sealing the pavement joints on the surface.


“The URETEK repair has been in place since August 1999. It has not deteriorated since that date.”
– Dr. Randall W. Brown, PhD, PE

Cost Analysis & Final Results

A conservative estimate to excavate and replace the area of concern at Andrews Air Force Base placed the cost at $250,000 or more, with a minimum project time of 35 days. URETEK’s repair strategy cost less than half the replacement estimate, and took a total of only 10 days to complete. The URETEK repair system was so efficient that flight operations were never interrupted. The Air Force continues to choose URETEK for many of its critical runway repairs. The Air Force has been seeking approval/funding to re-build their 50+ year old runway for several years and finally received permission to start last year.

In 2010, a scheduled replacement of the URETEK repaired runway section was completed along with an post-performance evaluation of URETEK’s polymer. Further evaluation showed URETEK polymer to be in great condition, maintaining compressive strength and rigidity after 10 years and thousands of takeoffs/landings.